Service Learning

Definition of Ac​ademic Service-Learning

A form of experiential education in which students participate in meaningful service to their communities while engaging in some sort of reflection related to the service and integrated into the curriculum.

 

Definition of Co-Curricular Ser​vice-Learning

A form of experiential education in which students participate in meaningful service to their communities while engaging in some sort of reflection related to the service and social justice/societal issues that are addressed by the service provided.
 

Benefits of Service-Learning

Service-learning has numerous benefits for all constituencies involved:

 

For Students

  • promotes critical thinking skills and the ability of students to apply concepts and theories to the “real world ” 

  • develops a habit of critical reflection on their experiences, enabling them to learn more throughout life 

  • deepens understanding of course materials 

  • challenges stereotyped thinking and facilitates interracial understanding 

  • strengthens students’ sense of civic duty and social responsibility 

  • encourages commitment to addressing the underlying problems behind social issues 

  • encourages understanding of problems in more complex ways and supports imaginative alternative solutions 

  • allows students to explore possible career paths

  • develops relevant career-related skills 

  • provides experience in group work and interpersonal communication

  • instills a sense of empowerment that enhances self-esteem

  • encourages curiosity and motivation to learn 


For Faculty

  • ​articulates the relationship between academic material and its applications

  • encourages the formation of close, interactive, mentoring relationships with students

  • provides opportunity to be actively engaged and knowledgeable about community 

  • highlights the direct consequences of teaching and scholarship for society

  • fosters the development of relationships between organizations and faculty

  • provides campus, community, state, regional and/or national recognition

  • enhances connections between research and teaching

  • creates new avenues for scholarship and publication 

  • provides networking opportunities for colleagues across disciplines 

  • increases student recruitment and retention to departments due to increased enthusiasm and engagement with coursework 

  • fosters motivated teaching due to greater student interaction with subject matter 

  • enhances and enriches teaching-innovative pedagogy 

  • improves faculty/student interactions 

  • opens avenues to new funding sources


For Community Organizations

  • fosters the development of relationships between organizations and faculty
  • provides additional human resources agencies need to achieve mission and goals 
  • creates a larger pool of experienced volunteers from which to recruit future participants and leaders  
  • allows organizations to play a role in educating and challenging student perceptions about current community issues 
  • offers organizations the opportunity to identify and access university resources 
  • forms partnerships that foster positive campus-community interactions 
  • provides access to faculty experts and the next generation of experts
  • solves local problems in effective, creative ways
  • cultivates future generations of engaged citizens 
  • encourages multi-generational and cross-cultural interactions 
  • establishes cooperation and collaboration as values within the local culture 
  • provides meaningful services to our community 
  • creates opportunities for community agencies to participate in student learning
  • builds community awareness of college programs and services